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Novel Ideas: A YWCA Social Justice Book Club


Calling all book lovers and social justice changemakers! Join Novel Ideas, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s interactive, insightful book club with a focus on diverse, thought-provoking writers and subjects. Titles include non-fiction, fiction, graphic novels, and memoirs. Most are readily accessible, in various media forms, through our amazing regional libraries. Topics will range from current events and social movements to more personal glimpses of life and diverse people.

Book selections, often including audio and Kindle versions, are available at your local library. Allegheny County resident?

Live in another county? Check out these links:  Beaver, Butler, Westmoreland 

How can I participate?


Participate in Novel Ideas in two ways:

  • Attend our monthly lunchtime discussion group at the Downtown Pittsburgh YW to share insights on our book selections.
  • Register your own book club (new or pre-existing), and meet at your group’s convenience with our discussion guide. We will email you the free materials after you sign up.

All participants will receive a small token of thanks for participating in their first meeting. No long-time commitment - come when your interests and schedule allow! 

See below for 2017/2018 reading selections - we hope to see you!

2017-18 SELECTIONS

Tues, Sept.12 – Hispanic Heritage Month

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. 
This coming-of-age classic is the remarkable story of Esperanza, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago. Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, and taught in inner-city grade schools and universities across the country, Cisenros’ moving series of short vignettes has been translated all over the world.

Wed, Oct. 11 – International Day of the Girl

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi 
A beautifully rendered graphic novel, this memoir portrays a young girl’s life in Iran after the radical 1979 cultural revolution. A New York Times Notable Book, A Time Magazine “Best Comix of the Year,” Satrapi shares her experience as an educated female living under a harsh political and social regime.

Tues, Nov. 14 – American Indian Heritage Month

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie 
Inspired by the author’s own life, this young adult novel captures the daily challenges of a Native American teen. Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white high school, where the only other Indian is the school mascot. National Book Award winner.

Wed, Dec. 13 – Human Rights & Bill of Rights Day

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik
The daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become a feminist and civil rights icon. This modern biography encompasses graffiti tags and extensive photos/editorial cartoons in presenting RBG’s life, barriers, and triumphs.

Wed, Jan. 10 – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race by Jesmyn Ward
This collection of reflections, essays, and poems by celebrated writers addresses history, current events, and a vision for our future. Inspired by James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward gathers some of her generation’s most original thinkers to give voice to their concerns

Tues, Feb. 13 Black History Month

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
These newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches illuminate the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout the world. A legendary activist in her own right, Angela Davis discusses the legacies of liberation struggles from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement.

Wed, Mar. 14 Women’s History Month

Fun Home: a Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel 
This memoir/graphic novel, about a family living next to their funeral home business, is a blend of feminism, LGBT themes, and coming-of-age insights. It was not until college that Bechdel, who had come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. He died shortly after this revelation, thus leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

Past selections & discussions:







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